Training tips from coach Bill Schroeder

finishkickzilkerrelays2014If you don’t use it, then you will lose it.  This applies to using your body and your mind.  It is always easier to stay in shape, than to get back into shape.  Always.  It is even truer the older you get.

I truly believe that running has given me so much more than I could ever give back to the sport.  By being fit and active I have seen so many places around the world that were only possible because I was a runner.

My mantra is “Focus Up!”  This is a mental as well as physical philosophy.  Focus Up reminds me to keep my head up (good form) and to mentally stay positive!

Running everyday keeps me healthy and injury free but it takes discipline to remind yourself that you can’t have 2 hard days in a row.  When it is an easy/recovery day then no matter how good you feel you must not run hard/fast.  I have 2 long running streaks of running at least 25 minutes every day.  The first was 13 years, 2 months, and 3 days long and my current started on Oct 16, 2011.

Running thoughts:

Some of my best workouts are ones that I almost didn’t start.

The hardest part of the workout is the first step out the door.

If every run was great then they would all be average.

The bad runs make the good ones even better.


Bill has been running since 1974 (from the 300m low hurdles to the 50K and everything in between) and coaching for 35 years! He currently coaches The Jets, a year-round group in Cedar Park that welcome runners of all levels.

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Training Tips from coach James Dodds

424114_307936832597745_902211995_nConsistency trumps Intensity:

As a distance athlete it is so important you show up every day. I’d rather see you execute every quality workout a tad bit slower than planned than dominate once bad ass workout and then skip in the next three days. One workout will never “make you” but it can break you. So focus more on consistency over intensity.
Do what you said you would do:
 
In training and on race day alike, distances runners will come up against a feeling of discomfort. In that moment it isn’t a matter of “can i do it?” but “will I do it?” Those are the moments you need to do what you said you would do! It’s that simple.
Your race will look exactly like your training schedule:
 
If you are the kind of person who starts the season committed, disappears for three weeks in the middle, and then shows back up to power through the last few workouts at the end of season; then your race will probably be fun at first, tiresome in the middle, walking next, and then a sprint finish to say you did it. Conversely, those who consistently challenge themselves throughout the season tend to be the people who develop the grit to challenge themselves to new heights on race day.
Discipline breeds Discipline:
 
Training for marathons takes discipline. As you become more disciplined in your training you create a chance for discipline to spill over into other areas of your life. It won’t “just happen.” You still have to make a conscience choice in those other areas. However, the discipline of running will provide a mental framework that can be easily applied in the other important matters of life.
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James Dodds has worn just about every hat that there is to wear at Rogue over the past six years: training director, retail manager, Rogue Expeditions guide and, of course, coach. Known for his incessant smile, words of wisdom and ability to inspire just about anyone, he says that he runs for that sense of accomplishment & to enjoy adult beverages. James currently coaches the Austin Marathon and Austin Half Marathon training programs.

Dear Schrup…

I got only two questions, one of which was from Gundi, and was way too hifalutin for the masses, so the default question is this:

What’s the deal with using multiple pairs of shoes? Should one have multiple pairs of the same shoe or buy a couple different types of shoes?–Waylon Calabrese

That’s a great question, and strangely enough it is asked often, but rarely by people who are named Waylon.  I suspect Waylon is bored.

First, training in multiple pairs of shoes is good for the economy.  If you aren’t up on your Twitter, we, as a general planet are having some financial issues.  The more shoes you buy, the more likely we are to get back to the roaring 80’s/90’s, when Porsches were plentiful and Luby’s served a prix fixe.

We look at training in different shoes from the same perspective as we prescribe training:  You have to work all the systems in order to become a better slash stronger slash faster slash healthier athlete slash runner.  We want to build you from head to toe, and not just focus on your aerobic system.  We know that your aerobic system will only grow to the point that your structure (your body–the musculo-skeletal body) will allow it.  It is why we do foot drills, dynamic stretching and General Strength exercises.  For the most part, gone are the days when we would just go out and run and run and run and run and run and call it Base Phase.  Sure, that does work to a degree, but we know that you increase your chances of success when you work all the systems in the midst of the running and running and running and running.

So let’s say you put on your, oh, adidas Adios, which is a fine, fine shoe by any standard.  This is your trainer.  You wear it each of the six running days per week.  Awesome.  Cool.  All good.  And as you get closer to race day, you wear your adidas Rocket for a couple of track workouts or tempo runs so you can get more familiarer with them before you race in them and thrash your legs.  You are running 40 miles per week in a shoe that is worth, I don’t know, 300 miles.  So, let’s call it two months.  As you wear your Adios every day, they begin to break down.  The midsole foam compresses but it doesn’t compress symmetrically.  That is to say that the shoe begins to get a bit lop sided, listing to the one side where you mostly load your foot.  And so every day your foot goes through the increasingly acute angle in the range of motion, every time you take a step.  Your foot becomes familiar with that and that stress increases, so too does your chance for injury.

But that’s not really what we’re looking for, is it?

We want different motions, different stresses, different responses.

The same way we run some on the roads, some on the trail, some on the grass and some on the track, all to stimulate different muscles so that our bodies produce different responses.  The same way we don’t do only hills, or only progression runs or only long runs.  Our bodies need different movements, different speeds, different efforts each day in order to improve.

And so we wear different shoes on different days.  Traditionally, we wore our standard trainers on our easy or long days, and our lightweight trainers or racers on days which required us to put in a bit of effort.  But now that shoes are becoming lighter and more flexible, much more racer-like than in the past, we can wear just about anything we want on any given day.  One friend wears the Adios and the New Balance 1400.  They are similar shoes in many ways–lightweight and flexible racers designed for the marathon–and subtly different–the Adios drops 11mm from heel to forefoot, and the 1400 drops only 8.  Both feel fast and protective, while the Adios is a bit firmer and stiffer all around.  I haven’t found a pattern in how this friend wears the shoes; likely they are chosen by which one is closest to the door when leaving for a run or workout.  But it doesn’t matter, either one works well for just about anything.

I still do recommend practicing race specific workouts with the shoes that you are likely to wear on race day.  You want familiarity in a few things, when it comes to racing, so that you don’t have any surprises in store for you.

I don’t know if that answers the question, Waylon; or even if I wrote something entirely understandable.  Maybe in the future, bring me an Americano and I’ll do my best to overexplain everything.

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We call him our Gear Savant for a reason. If you want to know the lineage of every aspect of a shoe, he knows it. If you want to know exactly how the Nike Pegasus 11 is different from the Nike Pegasus 28, he knows it. If you are the person who can never find the right shoe, then you haven’t met our very own Mr. John Schrup. We now offer a new, weekly blog series – Dear Schrup – where John will answer your tech questions about running shoes, apparel, and other gear. Any question is fair game. We will choose from the questions weekly, and John will respond via the blog on Wednesdays. Submit your questions via email to John (john@roguequipment.com) or post them on our Facebook wall.

Dear Schrup…

We call him our Gear Savant for a reason. If you want to know the lineage of every aspect of a shoe, he knows it. If you want to know exactly how the Nike Pegasus 11 is different from the Nike Pegasus 28, he knows it. If you are the person who can never find the right shoe, then you haven’t met our very own Mr. John Schrup. Starting this week, we are beginning a new, weekly blog series – Dear Schrup – where John will answer you tech questions about running shoes, apparel, and other gear. Any question is fair game. We will choose from the questions weekly, and John will respond via the blog on Wednesdays. Submit your questions via email to John (john@roguequipment.com) or post them on our Facebook wall.

Kicking things off with The Rogue Way…

So I just poured a double dirty chai directly onto my corneas and I’ve been thinking…

Keeping you healthy is pretty much all we think about here at the Rogue.  Sure, we train people for a broad variety of running events and we sell running stuff for those people and those events, but often I think that we are in the health care business.  We don’t prescribe pharmaceuticals, we don’t diagnose diseases, but we are in the business of keeping people healthy.  And we do it in a way that goes against conventional wisdom.  Beg pardon? you ask.  Sit back, drink this here espresso with heavy whipping cream, and listen up, buttercup.

Please let me offer two examples.  Most people, when they go to the doctor for whatever the ailment (let’s say it’s back pain or strain) will return with some meds–some weapons grade ibuprofen or some other anti-inflammatory, a muscle relaxer, an opioid if you’re lucky.  But almost certainly, you’ll get some sort of medication to mitigate the pain.  And that’s good, short term.  But the chances are that your doctor did not even begin to look at the root cause, the genesis of the pain.  He fixed the symptom, but not the real problem.  And so the chance that you will experience a related injury is high.  On the other side of the medical coin, the wisest doctors will find the root of the problem and offer suggestions on how to eliminate or reduce it.  It might be that your new job that requires you to sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day has exacerbated already weak back muscles because you slouch, or your desk is too high, or whatever.   So from a competent PT you’ll get some exercises to strengthen the muscles and a lesson on structural alignment.

To bring it back to running, and with a congruent discussion, I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has come to us for shoes after having been to the podiatrist for, say, plantar fasciitis and was prescribed custom orthotics to correct the injury.  The fact is that most running stores (and doctors for that matter) don’t take the time to consider the source of the injury.  They are practiced in the quick fix so they can make money off you by selling you products, whether you need them or not.  And then most of the time, in a number of weeks, the pain from the PF (I won’t even get into that it probably isn’t really even PF) has gone, and the runner is again back to training.  But is the problem fixed?  Did the doctor (or running store) even address the tight calves or weak posterior tibialis?  Did the doctor address that a tight psoas or anteriorly rotated pelvis might be closer to the root cause?  Did the doctor ask about anything other than the specific discomfort?  The big picture is that they aren’t looking at the big picture and they aren’t looking at you as an individual.  They are trying to fit you into their model, rather than fitting a model to you.

These differences in how you, the patient, are treated is not dissimilar to how we, Rogue, look at running injuries and footwear.

Let’s not let logic and reason get in the way of a good discussion, so let’s consider a couple of things.  Since the early- to mid-70’s, when the running boom began (thank you, Mr. Shorter), and as the numbers of runners has increased exponentially, both the general population and the specialty running shoe have become bigger, heavier, less flexible and bulkier.   The revisionist argument is that running shoes became more cushioned and bulkier because we became bulkier, so we needed more shoe, more cushioning, more stability.  That argument is, to me, similar to the argument that someone who is diagnosed with, say, high cholesterol or high blood pressure should be prescribed medications to lower those numbers but not asked to change his or her diet and/or lifestyle first.  The medications can provide quick reduction in those numbers, but if the patient doesn’t change his or her diet from eating processed and sugary foods, add even light exercise to a sedentary lifestyle or adopt some semblance of play into an over-booked existence, then the problem is never actually addressed.  The symptoms have been corrected, but the real problem still exists.

The same goes for running shoes.  A customer comes in with shin splints or some other, generic syndrome.  In the antiquated model of shoe fitting that 95% of the running stores in the country use, they plug a stability shoe or an over-the-counter orthotic under your foot and, voila!, problem corrected.  With the new model of shoe fitting, we have seen, through years of observation, experimentation and implementation, a reduction in running related injury rates from treating the problem and not the symptom.  We found that, almost universally, a combination of increased general fitness and a reduced reliance on footwear as a corrective implement, runners will remain injury free longer and in turn, enjoy running more.  The fundamental thing to remember is that if connective tissues are weak, they can be made stronger.  Most running stores don’t consider this, so it doesn’t even cross their minds that the little injury that is bugging you can be remedied without changing your shoes.

It should seem a bit strange that a running specialty store would recommend that you, the runner, rely less on your running shoes.  We make money selling running shoes.  But we recognize that the products we sell are only a part of the equation.  Our first job, our primary concern, is to help you enjoy your running, to get your daily endorphines.  We can sell you a metric ton of products to make your running more enjoyable (more funner!), but we are doing you a disservice if we don’t address the fundamental issues that will help you become a happier runner.

And so we have determined that the least amount of shoe that you are comfortable wearing is the right shoe for you.  Even the major shoe companies now admit that conventional running shoes are over-built and over-engineered and obstruct the natural mechanical function of the body.  It is our belief that a running shoe that fits and feels in such a way that it almost disappears on the foot, that it feels like an extension of your foot or that is intuitively most comfortable will be the shoe that benefits you the most.  But that is not the entire solution.  Because we train thousands of people each year, we know that spending 3 minutes per day on foot drills, seven minutes per day on general, functional strength, and a focused change in nutrition intake will make you a better runner and a healthier, happier person.

So why does most of the running shoe industry continue to push heavy, bulky, overly cushioned and stability shoes?  Jack, Jack.  Money.  The number one selling running shoe is the Brooks Adrenaline, a moderate to high stability shoe.  Brooks ain’t about to tell you that, really, you don’t need the one thing that makes them the most money.  They won’t say, oops, we were mistaken.  Our number one selling shoe alternates between the Brooks Launch and the Brooks Ghost, a lightweight neutral and a neutral model respectively.  It is true that the sales of neutral and lightweight shoes is increasing across the country, but still the great majority of running shoes sold are stability shoes.  Wisdom travels slowly, apparently.  Less that 20% of the shoes we sell are stability shoes, and most often those are sold because people ask for them.

3 out of 5 of our best selling shoes are what are marketed as lightweight or performance shoes.  50% of the shoes we sell are lightweight, performance or minimalist (I #@%$ing really dislike that term). We are not chasing your dollars, because the average cost of these models is a little more than $90.  Only one in ten shoes will sell are high priced, high end, luxury shoes.  Why?  Because you just don’t need them.  If you want that, I am more than happy to sell that to you.  If you really, truly believe that if you don’t wear the ASICS Kayano, you will cease to exist as a runner, then I need you to have that shoe.  I am of the belief that there are some situations in which if it isn’t absolutely necessary, then it is absolutely necessary not to have it.

I can count on one hand the number of times in the past year I have seen a customer who really, truly NEEDS a stability shoe.  The number of people who come in the store and who have been told by other running stores that they over-pronate or require stability shoes is absurdly high.  A customer will come in and tell me that they are an over pronator and then when we look at the movement in the lower leg and foot, we see ab.so.lute.ly nothing that could be, by any stretch of the imagination considered over pronation.  Nothing.  Yet someone well versed in such diagnoses at another running store tells them so.  But, you say, they put me on a treadmill and videotaped me running and, etc., etc.  Well that treadmill they put you on is one of the least efficient ways to monitor mechanics.  Several years ago I spoke with the head of the Nike lab, arguably the best in the world.  He said that they don’t use treadmills because they don’t give an accurate representation of a runner’s mechanics.  The top independent labs don’t use treadmills, they watch people run across the ground, over force plates.  So why do running stores continue to use treadmills?  Two words:  Marketing.  Tool.  Say it with me…WTF?

So we’re calling bullshit.  Bullshit on the idea that you need more shoe, that you need more cushioning, more stability.  Bullshit on running stores that that follow conventional wisdom, that don’t believe you can do it unless you have a certain type of shoe.  Bullshit on the belief that need and want are the same thing.

That is not to say that a lower profile, more flexible, lighter shoe is your magic bullet.  It isn’t.  You are the magic bullet.  You must make yourself structurally stronger and lighter if you are really going to make headway in reducing the risk of injury.  And a lighter, more flexible shoe can be a tool in allowing you to do that.  You must begin to look at your running shoes as tools that allow you to do something, and are not necessary for you to do something.  You must recalibrate your idea of fitness.  You must resist the urge to blame your injuries on a product.  You must be wise in your approach to your training.  You must allow your body to function as it was designed to function.  You must nourish your body and mind with food, not food products.  You must defy conventional wisdom.  You must take responsibility for your own body.   And no matter that you’ve never even walked around your block or jumped rope, you must have the unshatterable belief in yourself as an athletic being.